To the Dark Forest and Back Again – A Poem

I try to ignoresmall forest

the whisper of leaves.

I can feel the breeze

almost all the time now.

I can smell the dark earth

of the forest floor.

I had told myself

that I would never return here,

that it had lost its hold on me.

Yet, when I close my eyes,

I can see the dark forest.

It is much larger than I recall,

the branches of the trees

stretching out much farther

than they used to.

I watch as one of the Dryad’s

detaches herself from her tree.

She is covered in bark

that is black in colour

and I can see a trail of oil

that she leaves behind her.

“It’s been so long since we’ve seen you, dear boy.”

She runs a pointy finger

along my chin,

leaving an oily smear

along my skin.

“So very long. The light within you will sustain us for months.”

I shiver and go to turn away,

when my path is blocked

by a man made of shadows.

He used to live within me

until I was able to cast him out.

He runs his hands along my skin

and though he is made only of smoke,

his touch burns, leaving trails

along my skin that remain.

“It’s been so long since I wore your body like a coat.”

He says, showing his teeth

in a smile that is far from warm.

“It’ll be good for you to be my meat puppet again.”

I turn again, desperate to be away,

to find my path homeward again.

I see a pathway and I head down it,

following the sound of water.

Soon, I approach a body of liquid

but it does not look like water.

Instead, it is an oily mass

and the surface shines and shimmers

like gasoline in the sun.

A man made of nettles

lounges against a nearby tree.

“You remember this, don’t you? It’s your pool of tears. Its drying up though.”

He reaches out with a nettle hand.

“It flowed so well when you were hurt. I can make you hurt again.”

I turn from him and try to run,

but the forest floor is more mud than dirt

and I find myself sinking

faster than I can flee.

I begin to wallow inside of myself,

wondering how I can be free

of the forest once more.

I claw at the dirt and mud,

I let out a guttural cry of rage,

knowing that I would not survive

another stay in this forest,

that there is no gingerbread house here,

no path of breadcrumbs,

that it is not a home to me.

I claw at the dirt and mud

and I notice a streak of light

that comes from the ring ringer

of my left hand.

There is no ring there yet,

but there will be.

Still, it shines brightly,

even from within the mud and dirt.

Then it is as if the first light

turns on the others.

A light at my heart level,

bright like a beacon.

The light from my heart,

shining out to all who meet me.

A third light comes on inside of me

and I can feel this one so clearly.

It shines from my third eye.

I pull my hands from the mud

and reach up to touch the light

but my hands come into contact

with a crown upon my head.

Though I know I don’t wear a physical one,

there a crown sits,

bright and clear like the light

that emanates from inside of me.

The light begins to wash away

all of the mud until I can stand again,

all of the smoke until I can breathe again.

all of the tears until I am at peace again.

It turns the nettle man to ash.

It turns dryad made of oil to rainbows.

It turns the shadow man into nothing

for shadow can not hide in light.

And then I take one last look

at the dark forest, knowing that

I will try not to return,

that I will focus on the joy

so that I can’t hear the

whisper of the leaves.

I take one last look and then





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